During the past few weeks the city of Grand Rapids has twice been witness to the selection process for an appointment to a key public post. The first was a new superintendent for the public school district. The second was the Third Ward city commission seat, which Robert Dean recently vacated to seek higher office. Both have been marred by the race-mongers who have made ugly demands that skin color top all other considerations. That self-righteous moralizing preenster, Mayor George Heartwell, tops the list of those who cannot judge a candidate for public office without taking account of his or her race.
It's been four decades since Martin Luther King told us of his dream. It's long past time we deal with the fact that his dream of racial integration is now largely a reality and what is a fantasy is the endemic racial bigotry of American society. The evil of de jure segregation and de facto disenfranchisement has long been swept from the land. With the passage of a generation, the culture has expunged itself of racism -- so much so that what bigotry remains is shamefully closeted. While there are many individuals who still embrace irrational hatreds in 21st century America, the more important fact is that the golden door of opportunity is not closed to anyone because of skin color.
Yes, I know that the race-mongers reject the color-blindness I advocate as the noise of a middle-aged white man who cannot possibly understand the experience of bigotry. But that's not just nonsense; it is dangerous nonsense. Those who argue that fallacy have the same mindset as the segregationists who rationalized their bigotry on the false premise that skin color fundamentally divides mankind. The fact is, of course, my human nature is the same as that of every other human being on this planet. The human condition is universal. I have known the pain of cruelty, of injustice, of a false judgment based upon a triviality about me rather than the content of my character. Who among us has not?
There is much injustice in this world, some of it arising from racial bigotry. With so many genuine problems that need our attention, I have lost all patience with the race-mongers waving the bloody red shirt of victories already won. History has put paid on the past. The fault for dissatisfaction and failure falls upon the individual these days. The walls of segregation that had imprisoned a man because of his skin color have fallen and crumbled into dust. Racial grievances today are mostly imaginery, increasingly delusional, and smack of bad faith. We haven't the precious resources to waste on soothing the egos (and too often filling the pocketbooks) of those who trumpet these false complaints.
Not when we have thousands upon thousands of children in this city -- black, white, brown, and every hue in between -- trapped in a rotten school system that functions more as a public works program for pension-seeking mediocrities with education degrees than the vital mission to teach our youngsters the skills they need to flourish in the modern world. Not when we have a welfare state that encourages the marginal among us -- again black, white, brown, and every hue in between -- to fall prey to its moral hazards and settle for mere survival instead of the struggle to thrive. Not when we have a materialistic culture that entices the rest of us -- once again, black, white, brown, and every hue in between -- to hock everything we have including our good credit to put a second or third car in the garage, buy a house twice the size needed, and dine out every night.
So, despite what Mayor Heartwell thinks, choosing a Third Ward city commissioner because his or her skin is black will not make one whit of difference in these profound problems that we face.